New Swiss gambling law to come into force from January 2019

New Swiss gambling law to come into force from January 2019

Monday, November 12, 2018 Posted by News Team
Switzerland
Controversial site-blocking measure will not be introduced until July 2019

The Swiss Federal Council, the executive branch of the country’s government, has agreed to enact the country’s new gambling law (Geldspielgesetz), from January 1st, 2019.

The introduction of the new regulations will kick off a six month period in which the Federal Council will process applications from the country’s land-based casinos to extend their existing licences to cover online gaming.

As a result, the introduction of the controversial provisions to block access to unlicensed gaming sites will not come into force until July 2019. This provision in the Geldspielgesetz proved threatened to derail the progress of the gaming bill, with many arguing that it amounted to online censorship. Its opponents gathered enough signatories to force a national referendum on the issue in July this year.

However the Swiss public voted overwhelmingly in favour the legislation, with 72.9% of voters backing the Geldspielgesetz, allowing it to pass without further changes.

The Geldspielgesetz also sets out new regulations for small-scale poker tournaments held outside of casinos, allowing for competitions with a maximum buy-in of CHF200 (€176) and prize pools of CHF20,000 to be allowed from January next year.

Maximum prizes for small lotteries and raffles set out in the Geldspielgesetz have been amended by the Federal Council, following criticism that the original sums were too low. As a result the maximum raffle prize has been doubled to CHF50,000, with regional draw-based games now able to offer prize pools of up to CHF500,000.

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